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Back in October 2015, American Express Membership Rewards devalued the transfer ratio to British Airways Avios. Instead of being able to transfer points 1:1, the transfer rate was dropped to 250 Membership Rewards = 200 Avios. The transfer rate has stayed at this point ever since, with only the rare bonus making it a better deal.

Well, without fanfare, it looks like the old 1:1 ratio is back! Spencer Howard first pointed out the situation this afternoon on Twitter:

We checked out our Membership Rewards accounts to see if Spencer was just a lucky member. But, our accounts also show the new 250:250 transfer ratio:

Amex MR to Avios 1 to 1

To confirm that a transfer wouldn’t error out, I transferred the minimum number of 250 Membership Rewards to Avios:

MR Avios transfer confirmation

The transfer was successful, and the points immediately posted to my Avios account — as expected:

BA points transfer confirmation

TPG reached out to American Express to inquire if this is a limited time offer or the new normal. Just before publication, we heard the good news: The change is permanent!

American Express now leads the industry in reward program partners

Today, two of Amex’s Membership Rewards airline transfer partners, British Airways and Iberia, are increasing the transfer ratio for their rewards program, Avios. The transfer is increasing from a 5:4 to a 1:1 transfer ratio.

With this update, Amex’s Membership Rewards program now offers the most 1:1 airline transfer partners – 11 in total.

Membership Rewards now also offers Card Members the opportunity to transfer points to 21 reward program partners, which is more than any other U.S. credit card rewards program.

Best Uses of Avios

What might you want to do with those Avios? Due to high fuel surcharges on British Airways’ own flights, you’ll be best off redeeming for travel on BA’s partners — you’ll get the best deal on short-haul flights. I’ve personally scored a one-way from Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE) for just 4,500 Avios — a flight that often runs ~$500 one-way. Back in the States, you can use Avios to book American Airlines flights under 1,151 miles in length for just 7,500 Avios in economy or just 15,000 Avios in domestic first class.

West Coast flyers can use Avios to book flights to Hawaii via Alaska Airlines or American Airlines for just 12,500 Avios each way. Don’t feel left out East Coast flyers; you can fly from seven different cities to Dublin (DUB) for just 13,000 Avios one-way during off-peak periods.

Iberia A340-600 Premium Economy window seat pairs

Or, you can transfer Membership Rewards to Iberia Avios for steals like 25,500 Avios one-way in premium economy between New York’s JFK and Madrid (MAD).

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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